A 3-D reproduction of Michelangelo’s David is on display at the Dubai Expo. However, visitors can only see the statue’s head. The torso, genitalia and legs are only visible at a lower level.
Some of Italy’s press have slammed this as a form of self-censorship. They suggest the Italy pavilion organisers deliberately tried to hide the ‘rude parts’ due to religious and cultural sensitivities in the Gulf state.
The organisers deny this, saying they had intended to display it this way. “We planned to position David’s statue the way it is now many, many months ago,” commissioner Paolo Glisenti said.
Only head and neck visible to all
The head and neck of the six-metre-tall reproduction of the Renaissance statue are on show in an octagonal structure at first-floor level. The genitalia and legs are visible at a lower level. Only select visitors and function attendees will enjoy that view.
“We took the David statue here… at the end of April in the middle of (the holy fasting month of) Ramadan, by the way, in the presence of many high officials of the Emirati and Italian government.”
Artistic director Davide Rampello said the aim was to provide a new experience by allowing visitors to see the David at eye level. Normally, art lovers have to look up at the original statue at the Galleria dell’Accademia museum in Florence. This way, visitors can look David in the eye.
40 hours of digital scanning
One of the world’s largest 3-D printers created the statue. The project involved 40 hours of digital scanning of the 16th century original. Finishing touches were added by hand.
“The reproduction was done with very sophisticated technology used in space and finished by artisans in Florence that covered the statue in marble powder,” Glisenti said.
Based on the theme ‘Beauty connects people’, the Italy pavilion is among almost 200 exhibitors at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Middle East’s first world fair, it expects to attract 25 million visits.